Multiple Diagnoses-Multiple Mommy Stress-How To Hold Yourself Together And Stay Calm

Today I thought for sure I would start to scream and not be able to to stop.  Michael came home from his sports summer camp and was actually relatively calm. He’d had a good day, ate his snack, and talked about the days events. Then, it was like a switch went off. He became happy hyper, physically moving all around the house and started stressing out about some of his recent phobias. I literally saw all his diagnoses in a two hour span being acted out looping on each other. As I tried to redirect the ADHD hyperactivity he became rigid and inflexible about something else, stereotypical ASD. Then I could tell his blood sugar was high due to all the emotions and his sudden anger. Then came the fears and worries, his new issue. I was pretty much finished by 6 pm. We arrived home at  4:15. I was still upset at myself though, for taking some off his comments personally, particularly when he tried to get aggressive. He was clearly out of control.

After we had both calmed down, Michael and I spoke about sensory strategies he could use when he comes home from camp. After dinner he asked if he could go swimming at the local pool. It was a great way to calm his nervous system.  So what was I still stressed about? Well, you see I felt bad that I was and have been feeling a little resentful lately of dealing with a lot of different issues caused by his conditions. It has been extremely stressful. That was when I reminded myself that he is the one living in his body, not me. If I can’t stay calm and focused, how will I model that for Michael?

This got me thinking that due to the level of worrying I have been doing about Michael’s latest health challenges , I have worn myself down emotionally. I have a great kid, but I have been seeing him as his problems, not his positive points as often as I want to. I started to reflect on kids with multiple needs, complex care needs. These kinds of kids and their parents need to take even better care of their mental and physical health. They need to stay in touch with beauty, laugh together, and never lose faith. Especially us parents. As we come to terms with other health conditions our child has, we must learn to still look to the beautiful child that they are. If it means taking time away from researching their current health conditions, so be it. Your child needs you present and strong. They need you to laugh with them and grow with them. They need you strong so remember to do what makes you feel strong. Remember to find joy in yourself, and in your life so you can see the joy in your child. For me lately, it has been about paying attention to mood swings for emotions and blood sugar. I have so many charts and emails that I send to professionals about Michael as does Dad.  And though this is helping me understand my child’s inner world better, it is causing extra stress to me as a Mom. Today I realized I had to let go of some of that worry and take some Mommy time off. Also, when I am with my kid, I need to see his funny quirky side. Enjoy him. His enthusiasm. His amazing memory. His energy. His sense of direction. His love of food and music. And remember that though this little tween is not the boy I could cuddle on my lap, he still will ask for those kisses and cuddles occasionally, and still cherishes my opinion. I also still get the “Mommy, look at me!” It’s time I did an inventory and appreciated the moments we spend together, and when times are rough, look for easy to help Michael regulate faster and for me to do the same.

Exceptional Parents, do you ever resent handling all the stuff that comes with your child’s diagnosis? Remember, if it’s hard for you, it’s even harder for them. And they are not their diagnosis. They are boys and girls with a diagnosis or diagnoses. Instead take a deep breath. Be compassionate and help them find a way to navigate through their difficulties. Take a Mommy break for a few hours. Recharge. So when you do get back in saddle, you and your child will be heading in the same direction. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

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The Importance Of Being Ready To Answer Soul Searching Questions From Your Exceptional Child

“Mommy, do you have any fears? What about Daddy?” This question came at bedtime on Sunday night, after a very long and challenging day of sensory struggles, anxiety and some aggression issues. Michael is starting to piece things together, but they are still hard days. Weekends are the toughest.

“Yes, honey of course I am. I am afraid of not being able to give you all you need, your health, mine and others in the family. But I do what I can to stay positive, put my faith in God to lead the way, and remember my strategies to help me.”

We then talked about what Dad was afraid of as well as other people in the family, that is, Michael named the fears. He knew and remembered and was sympathetic. Then he talked about his own fears.

“I’m afraid of watching videos that scare me and about someone breaking in the house and hurting me.”
“You close the video if it upsets you, and no one will come into this house and hurt you. You are safe honey.  Daddy and I love you. God loves you.”
“I am safe Mommy.”
“Yes.”
This is part of the problem lately. Michael has developed so many fears about safety, as well as other fears. But the fact that he was ready to talk about this so in-depth with me and share, made me happy, even if it was not at the best time of the day for me. See, at nine o’clock my day is winding down. I wanted to do the usual goodnight prayers and cuddles with Michael that we usually did, and go and have some much needed Mom time. This was especially true a few days ago, when we had spent the whole together for what I call “Mom Camp,” the week before Michael actually starts real camp. Yet I realized, this is what being a Mom is all about. It’s about seizing and taking the time in the moments your child opens up to you, to let them talk, share their fears, and reassure them that you are there.

We had another such moment at dinner the other night when we had to rush off somewhere after dinner. This was the night Michael decided to have a spiritual discussion about heaven and hell, literally. He asked me questions about what is heaven like? what is hell like? how do we know there is a heaven/hell? do we come back again after we die? Fascinating topics. I was blown away by how much he had been listening when I talked about spirituality in the past, and also quite shocked that he was that interested. Again, I was looking at the clock thinking, now, now you want to talk about this? But I said to myself, your kid needs to talk. You talk. You listen. It is so important we let our children know their concerns are important to us, and it is in these moments that the difficulties we face with them will be strengthened. We will see what an impact we can have as a caregiver and role model for them.

Exceptional Parents, how many times have your Exceptional Children shocked you with questions and statements when you least expected it? Have you worried that you were not up for the challenges, too tired, don’t have the answers. Remember, trust your heart. You have what your child needs, your love, your wisdom. And they will also reciprocate and mirror back to you their love and wisdom. It is in the moments we least expect to see miracles in our children that we often do. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

 

Summer Fun For Exceptional Families-Finding The Balance

As usual but in a different way, Michael had a difficult start to the summer and me with him. Every year there seems to be something that carries over. I also know that the break of routine with school is hard for him, as much as he likes to be home. He also likes to be busy. Anyone who knows Michael and our family, knows that we keep him busy. He is a curious, energetic and social kid. Staying home is not for him. Even with the emotional struggles he has been going through, I have noticed that, as always, there is his spirit of resilience. He is so hard on himself. He fears a lot. Yet he is one of the most fearless people I know. I tell him this. I tell him, “you are my hero. I admire your energy, your excitement about learning new things. And now, I’m not sure if it’s maturity, puberty, or something else, but he is more conscious of how he wants to self-regulate and control his emotions. He pretty much likes the same activities he liked as a child, but now has the patience to stay at them longer. It’s great, and especially on those days when your child is stressed, keeping them active can really help with regulation.

Here are my suggestions for fun inexpensive things to do with your exceptional tween over the summer:

  1. Swimming at local pool or splash pads: This is a must with our hotter and hotter summers. Michael now could spend a good two to two and a half hours or more frolicking at these places.
  2. Parks playing sports: Yes, he will still go on swings and slides, but does not like the little parks with no fields anymore. His main interest is playing soccer in the field, and possibly tennis and basketball in the courts with me or a friend.
  3. Library: He loves to read tween literature and fantasy to boot! He reads to me now, and when he stumbles over words, it’s a great time to bond while I explain it to him.
  4. Art: Painting, clay or any other means of self-expression is something a child this age can do to burn off steam
  5. Movies: Yes, once our kids are able to sit still calmly and focus, take them to matinees. It’s a great way to pass the afternoon.
  6. Structured activities: Most communities now have adapted sports activities for kids though some exceptional kids do fine with smaller teams. We always do soccer, and sometimes tennis over the summer. There are lots of options. See what interests your child.
  7. Camp: Even if it’s not for a long time, camp usually gives exceptional kids a different chance to be active, meet new faces, and grow. There are lots of options.

Exceptional Parents, how are you looking to keep your little ones busy? The most important thing to do is balance out unstructured time at home with a camp or structured activity. This usually means that kids get a balance and are happier over the summer when  a lot of their regular structure is gone. Here’s to good times ahead with your child. Until next time.

How to Help Your Exceptional Child Handle Obsessions and Extreme Stress

I felt as if I was falling into a dark abyss and could not feel the ground below me. I had had this same feeling before. It was when Michael was diagnosed with Autism, then Type 1 Diabetes and then shock that he did have enough ADHD symptoms to probably have that too.  I had received news from Michael’s psychiatrist about her concerns regarding his obsessions and anxieties lately, and that his aggression could stem from that.  She was asking me to ask him further questions to determine how serious his phobias could be. I knew what that meant. She wanted to rule out a more serious mental health condition. I have been seeing how Michael has been becoming increasingly anxious and agitated lately about so many things. I suspect he probably has OCD and an anxiety disorder, but all I had to do was read up about obsessions, compulsions and come across the word psychosis and my eyes swam with tears. I had many little crying breaks that day. We were not even sure he had anything yet, but the mere possibility that my sweet, intelligent, funny child could be suffering from a more serious mental illness was enough to unhinge me. What else did this poor child have to struggle with? I consider him perfect the way he is. His brain is different and his body regulates differently, but he has so many talents, skills and abilities that I want him to be able to use. People have seen the gift that he is. But watching him suffer and stress over so much lately, has made me realize how hard life has been for him.

In lieu of this potential news, I did what every Exceptional Parent does out there-I read up on obsessions, compulsions, and psychosis. Whether my kid has this or not, doggone it, I’m going to know everything about this beast in case I need to help him tame it if he does, right alongside his doctors and other members of his team. It was a very very difficult week and weekend, and the last few days have been hard too. Tweaking the medication  that was working however, made a HUGE difference today. Michael was calm, reasonable, and even when he got super anxious and had some aggression, he would quickly apologize, regroup and was able to give me more of a clue as to what is going on in his head.

I took the opportunity to share with Michael details about my own burnout when he was younger. I went to therapy and made changes in my life about how I approached stress, inner and outer. I also admitted to myself that I had to stop seeking to be perfect and be real instead. Being real means admitting when life is getting to me, when I need a break and asking for that break and time alone. I reminded Michael he had a great team in back of him, starting with himself, his parents, his therapists both inside and outside of school, and God at the helm of it all. I truly believe everyone that has come into our lives was directed to us divinely. In my moments of fear and worry about the present and future, I remember that what is in my hands I need to stay calm to handle. What is out of my hands, is in God’s and I need to trust in that. I prayed for strength to be the calm that Michael needs whether he gets another serious diagnosis eventually or not. I also prayed for patience with him, Dad and myself. And I prayed for the right people to help guide me to help Michael manage all his anxiety in a healthier more positive way.

Exceptional Parents, how easy or hard is it for you to wait on a diagnosis about your child? I’m sure it is challenging for all of you. The important thing to remember is keep an open mind about any strategies, medication wise or therapy-wise, that could help your child, and to remember that they may be more scared than you. It’s your job to stay calm and help them focus to be the best they can be. After that, you and your family can help support your child to find ways to regulate and be happy. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

How Exceptional Parents Can Help Their Exceptional Child Handle Medication Withdrawal

 

My heart has been breaking all week as I watched Michael go through a miserable time on a new medication to help with his anxiety. I knew I could expect that a medication could not work out. I’ve had Mom friends tell me sometimes it takes 4 tries before the right medication/therapy match is made. Still, watching your child suffer is hard. And when he suffers by becoming more aggressive and fearful to family it is heartbreaking. Combine that with the last week of school/work for both of us, and I was finished for the long weekend we had in Montreal. It was a brutal long weekend peppered with some fun moments- a nice walk with Michael on Sunday, watching Michael finally connect positively with Dad late Saturday afternoon, and meeting up with friends for the St. Jean Baptiste festival fun on Monday afternoon.

There was also a gloriously proud moment for me as Michael asked if he could bring his injection equipment to Mcdonald’s and have breakfast out with me. This was the first breakfast out of the house since his Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis at the end of last August. He was a champ! We ordered the food, found our table, and Michael set up the injection equipment beautifully. I did the injections and then he was eating breakfast, just like that! A staff member at the Mcdonald’s came up to us and told us he had Type 1 Diabetes too and was diagnosed at 6 years old. It was a great moment for Michael to see that he was not alone, and me too. God works in mysterious ways.

But back to the stress of our medication ordeal. It’s so hard to get the right type of treatment for kids. I had my moments when watching my boys fight nearly broke me, but then I remembered, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Somehow, somewhere our family would get through this stage like we got through everything else. Michael, as I tell him, is my hero. He is able to handle so much, and even when he messes up, he tries and tries again. It’s only now that I see he does not know how to try again, that I am realizing he is stuck. He does not want to be aggressive and impulsive. He can’t control it. He needs his parents and the other adults around him to be able to help support him and keep him calm.

Today we had a rough patch as mother and son. After we were both finished being angry and crying, I apologized as did Michael. I then told him, “I will never give up on you, so don’t give up on me either, ok?” He nodded. I meant don’t give up when Mom loses her cool. It does not happen as often anymore as it did when I was less experienced as a Mom and Michael was younger. I know now, that I can fall apart in private and lean on my family and friends when times get rough, but Michael needs and deserves me strong. On that note, here are 5 tips I have learned about handling your child’s medication withdrawal:

  1. Stay calm in front of your child
  2. Lose it when alone and share your stress with a family member or friend.
  3. Remember, tomorrow is another day.
  4. Help your child realize it is not their fault or yours.
  5. Believe that you will find the right balance of therapy and medication for your child

Exceptional Parents, how well did you handle your child’s difficulty with medications, therapies or any other methods that unfortunately were not helpful? If you got angry, upset, resentful and fearful, congratulations, you are human. It is normal to feel all of the above. As long as you allowed yourself to feel what you needed to feel then got back on that horse, you went back to being the cheerleader and advocate your child needed. Never forget that you set the stage for how they will handle their challenges by how you handle yours. Be humble, kind, and practice self-care. Your child will learn to do the same for themselves. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

Exceptional Patience- What Exceptional Parents Need To Do To Build More Of It

Once again it was a struggle for Michael to get up this morning. I knew it was probably partially due to the fact that he had gone to bed a little later the night before, and partially to do with the new medication he is on that may be making him more tired. I also knew though, that the bus was coming in five minutes and my little angel was still finishing his breakfast. When it arrived, he power dressed and was out the door (with my help), but also with a lot of yelling along the way, that is, on my part.

I was not proud that I lost my temper. It was so obvious to see that his problems with sequencing are the reason. He was not acting out and going slow on purpose.  After the bus left the curb this morning, I felt so guilty. I needed to reach into my patience reserves as an exceptional mom and parent coach. I needed to understand where Michael was coming from. Usually I do. Michael responds to me because of this, as well as families I’ve worked with. When I thought of what strategies I could build into our routine over the summer to prepare him for next year, I realized: videos, pictures of him doing his morning routine. There were lots of options. The most important thing was realizing that Michael sees the world differently than I do, than many of us do. He sees the world through his unique and different brain.  I see both similarities and differences in how he views things than others on the spectrum. It is important to respect and respond to this.

How am I going to do this? First off all, it means taking care of myself physically, spiritually and psychologically. This means doing things that fill up my Mom bucket with hope, love and patience, so I can show that to Michael. It also means having time to myself to think about how my words and actions affect Michael. Finally, it means being open to admitting when I have made a mistake and learning from that. It’s easier to do in one’s job or adult relationships than with a child sometimes, but unless a parent can show their child it is ok to mess up and learn, the child will not be comfortable messing up and learning from their mistakes. This morning was one of those lessons of humility for which I am grateful for and I know I will learn from.

Exceptional Parents, how do you build more parenting patience into your life with your child? The first thing is self-nurturance. Only when you can heal yourself, can you show your child how to begin healing themselves and learning from their mistakes. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

5 Ways to Help Your Exceptional Child Work on Their Self-Esteem

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“I am having trouble playing with my figurines Mommy? Did you and uncle have trouble playing with your toys growing up?”

It both broke my heart and filled it with wonder that Michael was making this effort to try and play on his own properly with his toys. I know it is hard for him. He has a great imagination, but not for the things that require playing pretend. I knew I had to encourage his effort though. I have heard over the years from professionals how Michael’s self-esteem is on the low side, and he is too hard on himself. Time to remind him of what his strengths are.

“Honey, it’s ok that you find it difficult to play with your figurines. Your uncle and I did not cook full meals at your age, have your navigation skills, and we did not do clay artwork. Those are some pretty amazing talents.”
“Really Mommy? Yeah. I guess it’s true.” His face immediately brightened. I felt good that I was able to remind Michael of his many strengths. Kids who are exceptional often struggle more with self-esteem than other kids their age. It’s up to parents to help them learn to love themselves, inside and out.

In that vein, here are 5 ways parents can help build their kids’ self-esteem:

  1. Praise what they can do: No one can do everything, but all kids have a talent or two doing  things they really enjoy.
  2. Spend time having fun with them: It’s so important to spend time with your children. Have fun doing things they are good at and enjoy.
  3. Encourage them to try new things: It’s important to always try new things. Only by doing that, will they be able to eliminate what they are good at and what they struggle with.
  4. Talk about your failures: Talk about your failures, and don’t be afraid to tell your exceptional children how you coped with them.
  5. Help them learn from their failures: It’s so important that kids learn that we all fail sometimes, big and little kids. It’s what we learn from these mistakes that makes or breaks us

Exceptional Parents, how do you build your Exceptional Child’s confidence? The most important thing to do is just be there for them. Help them recognize the gifts they can offer to the world by just being them. In time, this will help them love themselves for who they are. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

Controlling Impulses-The Challenges for Exceptional Parents and Their Children

It’s been a hard two weeks watching Michael struggle with controlling his aggressive and anxiety-provoking impulses. I’ve been seeing some new stims and compulsions that have flat out scared me. I am not proud that I reacted with anger to some of them, if not at first, then eventually.  I then reigned myself in and both sympathized with Michael and showed compassion for myself. It is not easy handling his anxiety and mine. This made me realized I also have to reign in my impulses as a Mom. I have to learn not to jump the gun and panic when my child does something very weird or potentially dangerous. Yes, I need to react, but I need to do it calmly, and as I said in a previous post, be Buddha Mom.

At the moment, we are not sure if the new medication is helping or harming him. All I know is that for the last two weeks, I cannot leave Michael near food, he will compulsively eat. That is not new, as one of the meds causes an increase in appetite. He also has developed stims that cause him to want to cover up the oven timer or turn it off and on, close drapes not to see my car, and on a walk the other day, he jumped into a traffic lane as he felt he couldn’t stop himself. In between these acts, he is my smart, responsible fun boy, but the impulses to act in silly and dangerous ways has steadily been increasing. This morning he did not want to take the school bus to school saying it may not bring him home. He has had a few bus driver changes, bus changes and time changes on bus, but I’ve never seen him so worked up. Slowly with his team we are looking for answers. In the meantime, I am realizing that it is more important than ever to look at the fun moments we have; a great bike ride we took the other morning, swimming at the pool, and the wonderful way he is making lunches and doing his artwork. The questions he asks and the friendships he has.

Exceptional Parents, how do you handle your child’s impulsivity and your own? Remember, go easy on them and you. You are both under a lot of pressure, and the best way to succeed is to give each other space and time to regulate physically and psychologically before talking things through.  Seek hep for yourself, professional or other if you need it as you do for your child .They need you to be strong. You will find the answers to the problems you are looking to solve in time if you do this. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

The Little Moments That End Up Being Big Ones- Exceptional Child Surprises

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“Are you enjoying the blues music Michael or are you bored?”

I watched Michael closely on the beach towel while we both relaxed listening to the blues music being played by our local blues festival. It was late afternoon and there were not too many people. Perfect for a beautiful sunny afternoon out. We had just finished eating dinner. He had done so well as always, with cooperating for his blood sugar and injection. I remembered last year how restless he was after he had his Jamaican patty and veggies. But this year he seemed calmer and serene.

“No, Mommy. I like the music. I want to stay a long time this year. Maybe till 11:00 pm.” I smiled to myself. It was 5:30 pm and though he was happy, I thought 11:00 pm would be pushing it a little. Then, the next words out of his mouth both made me proud and broke my heart a little:

“Last year I was not able to sit here and listen to the music with you. I had diabetes Mommy, and I didn’t have my insulin. I was very sick. This year, my diabetes is being treated with the insulin and I feel so much better.”

The pride I had in his maturity was matched by my sorrow for my little guy that has to deal with living with diabetes though he is such a champ about it. He is so good at carb counting and learning more every day. He reminds us of his snacks, what injection pen he needs and knows the difference between high and low blood sugar. He also is so good at remembering the timing of his injections. And his attitude about having diabetes is very matter of fact, though there are times he is sad of course. He has asked me if he will have diabetes for life. I told him yes, but now he explains his disease to others patiently and says what we told him, that as long as he manages it with proper insulin, diet and exercise he will be fine. He also told me that he does like learning about the diabetes equipment he has to use, that it’s kind of cool. I don’t think I would have coped at 11 years old as well as Michael is coping with this new health condition. He is my hero here as well as for so many other reasons! When he has challenging behavior days and learning challenges, I remember the high times.

But this moment in time also reminded me of something else-how precious those little moments are that we spend with our children and what it means to our relationship with them. Michael and I really bonded that afternoon, as well as earlier that day bike riding. I am seeing more and more each day how Michael is maturing. He is better able to communicate his feelings to me, stay more in the moment when doing his activities, and asking very important questions about life. This is what really matters in the end-to see the light at the end of the tunnel when times are rough for parents and for their child.

Exceptional Parents, how often have you noticed that those little moments you spend with your child actually end up being the big ones they and you remember? It’s amazing when we realize that we as Exceptional Parents can help make our Exceptional Child’s reality good or bad by what we say and do, and by showing them how much we love to spend time together. Today, don’t be afraid to look for those little moments to have a conversation, hug, laugh, or just sit next to one another and enjoy each other’s company. This is what they will remember, and will help them become even more resilient in life. Who knows, they may even help you become more resilient in your life too. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

When Your Exceptional Child Understands Self-Regulation And How To Help Them Continue On The Path

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I am so happy to write these words on screen. Michael is really, really connecting how to self-regulate with his new body. I say new body, as he had reached this point prior to his Type 1 Diabetes Diagnosis and puberty, but then it seemed he had to start learning all over again what made him calm down. As he got older, he also developed new fears and anxieties, social ones, self-esteem ones, and worries about his future.

My little boy that talked about a job, getting married and moving into his own home, all of a sudden started regressing. He talked about living with Dad and I. Being afraid to be alone. Being afraid of his thoughts. He still has some of these fears, but he is recognizing how to handle them. He is learning new strategies (and using some old ones), to calm down when he gets angry, anxious and stressed. I am so proud that he has started in the last two weeks connecting his thoughts to his actions. He has started seeing his patterns of thinking. Sometimes he understands where his anxious thoughts come from. Sometimes he does not. Regardless, his new combination of behavior therapy, medication, and old sensory strategies, as well as our new parenting techniques, seem to be doing the trick in helping Michael trust us again, trust himself, and build up confidence in the world again. It is beautiful to see. Now for Dad and I, it is about encouraging him to continue to make strides. We are seeing what works and what doesn’t. Every child is different, but here are some ways to tell that your child is starting to self-regulate and needs continued encouragement to stay on this path:

  1. Your child stops and thinks more before he/she acts: This sounds like a no-brainer, but it is hard for Exceptional Kids to do this. Even if they stop a fraction of a second before saying or doing something aggressive or stressful, or realize it a second later and apologize, wow. This is a step in the right direction.
  2. Your child automatically does the techniques or goes to the area to regulate: A child who is calmed by breathing may start doing deep breathing on their own when anxious or upset. A child who needs movement will seek out a trampoline, swing or jumping in place. One who needs deep pressure will squeeze stuff or ask for a hug or massage.
  3. Your child asks for your help in this area: Sometimes they will not know what to do. If they ask for help in any way, verbally or by pulling you to hold or hug them, you’ve made progress in reaching them.
  4. Your child will want to be with you more: We had a period of time when Michael’s peers mattered more than us in ALL things. I know it is normal that peers become more important during the tween/teen years, but he had a hard time trusting us and feeling secure. Therapy, seeing the effort we were making to spend quality time with him and let him talk without jumping in, made all the difference. Kids will seek the adult’s opinion if they feel validated and respected by said adult first.
  5. Your child will recognize others who don’t self-regulate more and possibly want to help: Michael will now recognize when friends have a hard time self-regulating and will comment to me and his teacher, that their behavior is not appropriate. Sometimes he will even  try and help them learn from it. I consider this massive progress.

Exceptional Parents, does your Exceptional Child have a hard time self-regulating or have they found the perfect formula? If so, praise them (and yourselves), for having worked so hard to help them learn how to manage their emotions. This is no easy feat for any child, but remember, Exceptional Kids’ brains are wired to handle stress in a more complex way. Keep looking for what works for your child, and never ever give up that they will learn from what didn’t work, as you do too. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.